Dolby itself describes Dolby Atmos as “the most significant development in audio since the arrival of surround sound”, going on to say, it “allows for more powerful storytelling by giving content creators unprecedented control of the placement and movement of sound within the movie theatre”.
Dolby Atmos uses a combination of more channels and speakers – up to 64 in total, including ceiling arrays – and multi-dimensional object placement to create a highly immersive listening experience. Each speaker is individually programmable, so sounds now appear to come from a specific place not from a particular speaker. This allows sound mixers to more accurately realise a Director’s ideas and deliver a more realistic, natural listening experience.
Dolby has built a vast test theatre to help develop the technology, and is installing a small number of systems for the release of Pixar’s ‘Brave’. If the trials are successful, expect many more to arrive by early 2013.
The cost of re-fitting an average-sized cinema auditorium with a Dolby Atmos system is expected to be around $25,000-$30,000. Click here to see the technical guidelines.